…We’re not aware — Party spokesperson
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA — THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was yesterday headed for a fresh crisis following a court action instituted by Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, one of the chairmanship aspirants at the recent national convention of the party seeking to nullify the election of Prince Uche Secondus as the new national chairman.
But the PDP’s national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan told Vanguard yesterday that the party was not aware of the court action.
Adedoja, in the suit filled by Mr. Rikky Tarfa, is seeking the nullification of the election of a new executive on the premise that his name was removed from the ballot for the election for national chairman.
Adedoja’s move came despite the strident moves by the Governor Seriake Dickson led Post-Convention Reconciliation Committee to sooth grievances arising from the convention that threw up Prince Uche Secondus as national chairman.
The suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/1225/2017 has defendants Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr. Ibrahim Umar, Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Adedoja, who contested the chairmanship position with Prince Uche Secondus, Professor Tunde Adeniran, and High Chief Raymond Dokpesi told journalists in Abuja on Monday that his name was excluded on the ballot, making it impossible for delegates to vote for him at the convention.
Expressing disappointment at the manner of his treatment by the convention planning committee, he said: “I went to the convention for the position of national chairman of the party with the strong belief that the party needed a chairman with wide experience, acceptability across Nigeria, integrity and a man with fresh and innovative ideas with a view to bringing intellectualism to the governance of the party.”
Also, he said: “Towards achieving this, I paid the necessary nomination fee, obtained and returned the national chairmanship nomination form; was invited for screening and subsequently screened with clearance certificate issued to me at a well-attended ceremony at the PDP headquarters in Abuja in Thursday, December 07, 2017.”
“Surprisingly, on the election day of December 09, 2017, my name was deliberately excluded from the list of national chairmanship contestants posted on the ballot boxes/ cubicles meant for the election of the national chairman of the party, thereby, wilfully and unlawfully excluding me from participating in the said election.”
Asked how this could have gone unnoticed by the Convention Planning Committee, Adedoja argued that on the ballot was Taoheed Oladoja, instead of Adedoja, saying on realising the misnomer, he drew the attention of the chairman of the Convention Committee, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to it who in turn promised to rectify the anomaly.
The promise, the former Minister added, was not kept, culminating in the zero score credited to him during the declaration of results.
According to him, “Having built a political career for 14 years, the declaration of a zero score by PDP credited to me has embarrassed and maligned me and brought great ridicule to my political standing and goodwill nationally and internationally since the announcement of the result. I have suffered psychological trauma as a result of the public ridicule the election result has caused me, my family members, friends and associates,” he added.
According to Adedoja, his lawyer, Ricky Tarfa on Monday filed a suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to amongst others, “declare the election of national chairman of the PDP held at the Eagle Square, Abuja on December 09, 2017, null and void; declare as null and void any document submitted by PDP or by the purported occupier of the position of the national chairman to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC);
“Restrain INEC from recognising Uche Secondus as the national chairman of the PDP on the ground that the election where Uche Secondus was declared national chairman of PDP, I was unlawfully excluded from the list of the contestants for the position of the national chairman of PDP, which is a flagrant violation of the Electoral Act, the Constitution of the PDP, the guidelines for the conduct of PDP national convention and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
While praying the court to cancel the national chairmanship election; Adedoja called for the conduct of another elective convention “Within 30 days of nullification of the elective national convention held on December 09, 2017.”